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Female, Democratic and younger. EMILY’s List charts path to long-term power



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WASHINGTON — As the two parties battle for control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections, it follows that most of the political world would pay little attention to the election in New York’s 25th District.

That’s because the Rochester-based seat left open by Rep. Louise Slaughter’s death earlier this month is a virtual lock to elect a Democrat.

Slaughter won there 16 times, Hillary Clinton won it by more than 15 percentage points in 2016 and Democrats have a ready-made candidate in state Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, who wasted little time in rounding up local Democratic officials and Slaughter family members to coalesce behind his bid.

But EMILY’s List wants the party to hit the pause button on Morelle, who is 61.

Top officials at the Washington-based political network that recruits, trains and funds abortion-rights-backing Democratic women candidates see a chance to elect a younger woman to a seat that could be in the party’s hands for decades to come.

Across the country, EMILY’s List is backing more than 40 women House candidates, including many in the high-profile swing districts that will determine which party controls the House in the next Congress.

But in an important way, the safe House seats have more long-term value for a group trying to empower women in Congress. The more they can help women get elected to safe House seats, the more likely it is that future leaders in the House will be women.

For lawmakers to win chairmanships in the seniority-based committee system, they have to get re-elected repeatedly. That’s easier in politically safe districts. So is advancing in party leadership, which requires modern House members to take highly partisan stands and spend much of their time outside their districts raising money for colleagues.

The formula’s “not a huge mystery,” said Danielle Thomsen, an assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University who hasstudied candidates and polarization in Congress.

Top officials at EMILY’s List see Sarah Clark, the 44-year-old deputy state director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and an alumna of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office, as the kind of candidate who could someday become a force in the House, like Slaughter, who rose to become the top Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee.

 Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List, speaks onstage at EMILY’s List Pre-Oscars Brunch and Panel on Feb. 27, 2018 in Los Angeles. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images file

They dispatched veteran political operative Angela Kouters to Rochester to try to convince Clark to jump in the race before Morelle can lock up all the support he needs.

“We’re in the process of really taking a look at this with her,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock told NBC News.

Clark, who did not return calls from NBC News, has agreed to collect the signatures she’d need to get on the ballot while she weighs whether to jump in, according to a person familiar with her plans.

Schriock wants Democrats to wait a beat before deciding Morelle is the best person to take Slaughter’s seat because she thinks men — particularly white men — are sometimes quicker out of the gate to announce their candidacies.

“Women potential candidates often take a little more time to decide,” she said. “If we don’t pause, we don’t get women in the mix and we don’t get people of color in the mix.”

 Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Rochester, speaks in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol on June 20, 2017, in Albany, New York. Hans Pennink / AP file

Sometimes, there’s a tension between EMILY’s List’s two main missions: electing Democratic women who support abortion rights and helping Democrats take control of the House. That is, sometimes party leaders don’t think the EMILY’s List candidate is the best one to win in a particular swing district.

This year, the group has found itself at odds with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a handful of competitive primaries. That’s caused consternation within Democratic ranks when it’s happened in swing districts, where party officials are most concerned about ensuring victory in November.

But the open seat in Rochester represents a more traditional battleground for EMILY’s List— a place where there’s little chance that nominating a particular candidate will cost Democrats a seat in the House. And if they can stock the benches of the House chamber with women, the next leaders of the party are more likely to come from those ranks.

“You better believe this is a piece of the puzzle for us,” Schriock said.

CORRECTION (March 31, 2018, 9:28 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misspelled the last name of a Syracuse University assistant professor of political science. She is Danielle Thomsen, not Thomson.

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Brexit LIVE: France lashes out at UK as Barnier leaves talks – 'We WON'T fall for it!'



FRANCE has hit back at statements from the UK about post-Brexit transport delays across the Channel and warned the EU “won’t fall for a kind of intimidation at the European level” to reach an agreement between the two sides.

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McConnell dismisses Trump’s refusal to commit to peaceful transfer



WASHINGTON — Top Republican lawmakers on Thursday dismissed President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the 2020 election, seeking to deliver reassurances that the process outlined in the Constitution will be orderly and legitimate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., tweeted Thursday: “The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

On his way to the Senate floor after his tweet, McConnell ignored a reporter’s question on what he would do if Trump refuses to step down and whether he’d insist he do so.

Although McConnell didn’t directly name Trump in his tweet, it was clear he was responding to the president, who was asked at a White House news conference Wednesday evening if he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election.

“We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t think that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots – they’re unsolicited – millions being sent to everybody and we’ll see

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”

When pressed again on the issue, the president said: “We’ll want to have — get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

On Thursday, he doubled down on the claim that he didn’t think there could be an “honest” election with some states sending ballots to all registered voters.

“We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be. I don’t think that it can be with this whole situation, unsolicited ballots – they’re unsolicited – millions being sent to everybody and we’ll see,”

Nine states and the District of Columbia plan to send ballots in the mail to every registered voters. Of those states, only Nevada is considered a swing state where Democratic nominee Joe Biden holds a six point lead.

In other states, like Michigan and Florida, voters have to request an absentee ballot in order to vote by mail, and Trump has encouraged voters to do so, including in a tweet on Thursday telling Florida voters to “make sure to request yours, fill it out & send it in.”

When asked in an interview with CNN on Thursday night to respond to Trump’s comments, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows claimed: “I haven’t heard him say that.”

“I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to see a free and fair election on November 3rd, and the results will be what they are, and with that, we’re planning for a second term,” Meadows continued.

At a news briefing Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said when asked if the president would accept the results of the election if he loses, “The president will accept the results of a free and fair election.”

When asked what ballots the president was referring to getting rid of, McEnany said, “The president wants to get rid of mass mail-out voting, and he has said clearly that could go either way, [affect] either candidate’s chances, because it’s a system that’s subject to fraud.”

Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters that the peaceful transition of power is a “fundamental principle in this democracy” and he expects that to apply to the 2020 election just as it has in every election since the late 18th century.

“Republicans believe in the rule of law and we believe in the Constitution and that’s what dictates what happens in our election process,” he said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a frequent critic of Trump, tweeted Wednesday after the news conference: “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.”

On Thursday, one of Trump’s Republican rivals in 2016, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, tweeted: “As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one And at noon on Jan 20,2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.”

In the House, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, said that the peaceful transfer of power is “enshrined in our Constitution and fundamental to the survival of our Republic.”

“America’s leaders swear an oath to the Constitution. We will uphold that oath,” she said on Twitter.

Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, echoed his colleague and said on Twitter Thursday that “nothing defines our Constitutional Republic more than the peaceful transition of power.”

“Regardless of how divided our country is right now, when elections are over and winners are declared, we must all commit ourselves to the Constitution and accept the results,” he said.

Few other Republican lawmakers called Trump out, however, and those who did comment appeared nonchalant about Trump’s statement.

“There will be a peaceful transition of power. It’s happened forever. It’s going to happen in January,” said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. “I’m very comfortable there will be a peaceful transition of power. There is no way in the world it’s not going to happen.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., echoed the remark, saying there will be “a very peaceful transition,” and adding, “I know this will keep you up at night. Don’t worry about it. It will be fine.”

Democrats pounced on the president’s comments, with some describing his words as chilling and others calling him a fascist.

“President Trump: You are not a dictator, and America will not permit you to be one,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday night on Twitter.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Schumer said Republican lawmakers need to be pressed to speak out more.

“Democracy is at stake,” he said. “And every constituent from every corner of the land, regardless of party or ideology, should be asking their Republican senators to speak out and demand that Donald Trump not be allowed to do what he says he’s going to do, and say they will join all of America in standing in the way if he tries.”

In the afternoon, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., introduced a resolution to reaffirm the Senate’s “commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States,” which the chamber quickly adopted by unanimous consent.

Manchin said earlier in the day that he “would hope that this would wake up some of my Republican colleagues” and pleaded with GOP senators “for the sake of our children and future generations, please protect this great republic of ours.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she wasn’t surprised by Trump’s possible threat.

“You are not in North Korea, you are not in Turkey. … You are in the United States of America,” Pelosi said in a message to Trump. “It is a democracy, so why don’t you just try for a moment to honor your oath of office to the Constitution of the United States.”

“He’s trying to have the Constitution of the United States swallow Clorox,” she added, alluding to Trump’s suggestion in the spring that those infected with the coronavirus might be able to get an unspecified “injection” of disinfectant to fight the virus.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said, “In Trump’s mind, there is no conceivable way that he should leave office. He’s attempting massive voter suppression.”

“This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy. And democracy must win,” the former presidential candidate said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., tweeted, “He is openly calling for fascism. We need to say it out loud. That includes reporters. This year 247-of-248 republicans in Congress voted to keep trump in office. They did it because they value their power more than democracy itself. Never forget it.”

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on Twitter, “How can you watch this and not see democracy being discarded for fascism?”

CORRECTION (Sept. 24, 2020, 6:05 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misidentified Rep. Adam Schiff’s state. He represents California, not New York.

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Commons erupts as Rees-Mogg schools SNP on finances after Sturgeon demands MORE money



JACOB REES-MOGG brilliantly schooled the SNP this morning on claims that the SNP did not have “the power or money” to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

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